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June 12, 2013 - 

The Christian Reformed Church is trying something new, Synod 2013 heard Tuesday evening.

In response to changing times, the denomination is testing a new model of ministry.

The old model: centralized agencies, mostly based in Grand Rapids, Mich. The new model: leaders coming alongside churches on-site all over North America.

A pilot program for the new model has been set in motion by members of the Faith Formation Committee. The pilot program’s goal is to help congregations “grow an intergenerational faith formation ministry,” said Ben Vandezande, interim director of Canadian Ministries.

The staff person for the program will only work one day a week; 10 regional coaches will do the hands-on work at churches in their areas.

The regional coaches will have “gifts of encouragement, discernment, wisdom, adventure, possibility thinking—not experts so much as resource people and facilitators,” VandeZande said.

The pilot program will help CRC leaders find “best practices” as they aim to realign the denomination’s “specialized ministries,” according to deputy executive director Peter Borgdorff. Specialized ministries include aboriginal ministries, chaplaincy ministries, disability concerns, race relations, and safe church ministry, among others.

Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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